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First lawsuit accusing Zantac of causing cancer ends in $500,000 settlement

New DelhiEdited By: Sayan GhoshUpdated: Sep 01, 2022, 01:38 PM IST
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Photograph:(AFP)

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Bayer sued the generic drug makers alleging that the ranitidine formula of Zantac caused cancer in his system. The drug is currently not available in the market after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled it completely in 2020 after finding a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). 

The first jury trial in the United States involving the popular drug Zantac ended in a settlement worth more than $500,000. The four generic makers of the drug — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Perrigo Co., Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Inc — agreed to settle with the plaintiff Joseph Bayer after allegations that Zantac was responsible for causing esophageal cancer. 

Bayer sued the generic drug makers alleging that the ranitidine formula of Zantac caused cancer in his system. The drug is currently not available in the market after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled it completely in 2020 after finding a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). 

This was the first among over 3700 cases filed, both on the federal and state level, against the drug to go to a jury trial. However, the case against the generic makers and the two brand-name Zantac manufacturers — GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim — were completely dropped.

According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs in most of the lawsuits against Zantac have alleged that the company knew about the NMDA formation. They have alleged that ranitidine degrades due to humid conditions and although makers were aware of the phenomenon, they did not make it public. 

The drug was first launched in 1983 as a histamine-2 (H2) blocker prescription drug and in a few years, it became extremely popular in the United States. In 1995, it received permission to become an over-the-counter drug and even after the official recall, it was relaunched as Pepcid and Pepcid AC with famotidine replacing the ranitidine. 

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